|Land reserved for party favourites|
|Written by edson Haufiku|
|Wednesday, 27 June 2012 23:47|
A group of concerned residents of the Kunene region, calling themselves the ‘Concerned Group’, are accusing the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement of dishing out thousands of hectares to prominent individuals based on political affiliation.The group members claim to have unsuccessfully applied to be resettled on communal farms in the region since Independence.
The leader of the Concerned Group, known to Informanté, says the land resettlement programmes should not be a political process, but a path to socio-economic upliftment of the entire Namibian population, regardless of political affiliation. “Land does not grow, but the populace does. If land is distributed on those bases, then I do not see a future for many Namibians. Why is the Ministry giving land to people from as far as Oshikoto region while overlooking us, the inhabitants of this (Kunene) region who have followed the correct channels in applying for land through the resettlement programme?”
In a letter in the possession of Informanté outlining their complaints, the group alleges that not only is the land meant for resettlement being dished out to officials in the top structures of the Swapo Party in the region, at the expense of those who belong to other political parties, but that most of the ruling party officials are allocated units with farm houses, while other recipients who only receive camps have to finance their own structures.
The group says they applaud government for initiating the land resettlement programme, but have labeled the monitoring process as failing ordinary Namibians. They called on government to make sure that land for resettlement is distributed fairly and without prejudice. “We are privileged to apply for a piece of land, but as landless applicants our applications are shelved, because the officials dealing with applications only process those of people belonging to the ruling party,” the letter reads.
Amongst those listed as having unfairly acquired farm units for merely being associated with the ruling party are Swapo’s acting regional coordinator in Kunene, Rosa Shinyama, who received a unit on farm Gorius. Swapo Kamanjab district mobiliser, Mathew Mutilifa is resettled at farm Stilte and the Swapo Women’s Council executive member and national leader assigned to the region, Bernadette Maria Jagger, is reported to have recently acquired 1 579 hectares of Farm Babelsberg. Jagger is also the Deputy Director of Education in the region. Other prominent ruling party members on the list include an unnamed former high-ranking member of the Presidential guard who reportedly received an adjacent unit to Shinyama on farm Gorius. According to recent media reports the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement recently resettled a number of high profile Swapo members, including the Uukwambi King, Chief Herman Iipumbu, who received Unit D of Farm Monty, measuring 1 656 hectares.